Impostor Syndrome – psychological phenomenon and its impacts; 3 tactics to curb the syndrome

Impostor Syndrome and Its Impact

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor Syndrome is a term used to describe the psychological phenomenon of severe feelings of self-doubt causing people to feel fraudulent in their professional or personal lives.

We all know that person. The one who seems to have it all together. The one who is successful, confident, and always puts their best foot forward. Chances are, you don’t think that person is you. You may be wondering why you can’t seem to shake the feeling that you’re a fraud, that someone is going to find out you’re a total impostor. If this sounds like something you’ve been struggling with, then you may be experiencing impostor syndrome. Don’t worry -you’re not alone! In today’s blog post, we’ll explore what impostor syndrome is, its symptoms, and how to deal with it. Stay tuned!

Who is affected by Impostor Syndrome?

There are many reasons why people might experience impostor syndrome, but it most often affects those who feel like they don’t deserve their success or aren’t good enough at what they do. The statistics show that this feeling of isolation can spread across cultures with alarming rapidity.

It tends to be characterized by persistent self-doubt, high anxiety levels, increased frustration, and low self-esteem. Sometimes, we fear that someone might be taking our place or impersonating us when they aren’t. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt as you worry about success being solely due to your own hard work rather than the talent and abilities inherited from parents who put in many years toward their craft (or even more).

The phenomenon of “impostor syndrome” is not a well-known topic in India, but it does exist with estimates ranging from 20-30% of women feeling like they weren’t good enough or capable at something when compared to other people.

What are the symptoms of Impostor Syndrome?

Many symptoms can be identified with impostor syndrome, but you will find some of the most prevalent below.

Feelings of Inadequacy: Impostor Syndrome is an inner struggle many people experience when they feel like their skills don’t measure up to what’s expected. It may be difficult for some individuals with this syndrome, but it doesn’t have to stop them from achieving success in life!

The feelings of inadequacy can lead one down a path where these negative thoughts become overwhelming and debilitating; limiting confidence until we’re unable to take on new challenges or make decisions about our future careers/lives because there is always fear that something would go wrong if I tried attempting. However – no matter how true these fears might seem at times–you should never let them prevent them.

Comparison to Others: A frequent need to look at others’ accomplishments is not only a symptom of impostor syndrome, but it also reinforces the syndrome. Looking at others’ intellect, skillset or accomplishments becomes a means of validating one’s lack of those things. This feeling can lead to even more comparison and even more feelings of inadequacy.

Irrational Fear of Failure: Those with impostor syndrome struggle greatly with a fear of failure. In their minds, failing will expose them as frauds. Failing is the ultimate enemy. This fear can become so pervasive that it persists even amidst evidence that suggests the person will be successful.

Avoidance: The fear of failure of those with impostor syndrome leads to patterns of avoidance. To protect themselves from being exposed, individuals with impostor syndrome will often avoid activities and tasks that they perceive themselves as possibly failing. Avoiding failure becomes a greater necessity than trying the task at all.

Inability to Accept Praise: It can be difficult for those with impostor syndrome to embrace praise because they don’t attribute their successes to their efforts. Therefore, they don’t feel worthy of their achievements and cannot embrace a compliment or praise.

What does Impostor Syndrome feel like?

The feeling of being a complete fraud and giving up.  It can be hard to understand why you do things, or even want them in the first place when there’s this constant inner dialogue going on about how unnecessary everything is because surely no one will ever see what I create with my own two hands. When people ask me if it was lonely growing up as an introvert (I am currently at work on my third book), all that comes out is “no” – not a single word more than “yes.”

Impostor syndrome is the faulty belief system a person holds whereby they doubt their abilities, even in the face of external evidence that proves otherwise. This persistent and ever-present belief can be crippling in life and relationships.

As first described by Georgia State University psychologists Dr. Clance and Dr. Imes in 1978, this syndrome is generally noted among high-achieving professional and pre-professional individuals (both men and women). This makes the syndrome a paradox in that the individuals struggling with inadequacy are typically high achieving by all objective measures.

Impostor syndrome typically feels like an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and being undeserving: Those plagued by impostor syndrome often feel as if they are “faking it” and on the verge of being found out. They believe the success they have is not deserved as a result of this. They fear being exposed to the fakes they feel they are. These people battle to prove they are worthy of where they are by overachieving.

Impostor syndrome can leave people feeling like failure is not an option: Due to the overarching idea, one is always on the verge of being exposed, and the need to be perfect and succeed drives people with this condition. It is the belief that if one does everything perfectly, others will not find out they are not who they seem to be. Thus, perfectionism tends to coincide frequently with impostor syndrome.

Another defining feeling of impostor syndrome is the feeling of not being enough: Despite being high achieving, people with impostor syndrome often have low self-confidence because they cannot recognize their achievements.

This means they often cannot accept praise as being a genuine compliment. Rather they perceive it because of someone simply being nice, recognizing their charm versus their actual ability. Otherwise, they may try to find ways/reasons to invalidate the compliment altogether.

Those dealing with impostor syndrome can find themselves plagued by massive amounts of stress and anxiety, which work negatively against their mental health and wellness. The constant pressure of trying to reach unrealistic standards and continually overworking can lead to depression, stress/anxiety disorders, poor performance (overtime), and even health issues. High levels of stress can negatively impact physical health over time.

What measures can be taken to deal with Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor syndrome is a belief that success that has been earned is not deserved nor worthy of praise and attention.

Many people with impostor syndrome find themselves crippled by the fear that others will discover they aren’t as knowledgeable or skilled as they seem to be. Thus, they work hard to prevent this from happening or avoid scenarios where they feel exposed. At the same time, there are various ways to begin to deal with impostor syndrome. The rest of this article outlines three of those strategies. The perfect starting point!

Track & Measure Success

The key to overcoming impostor syndrome is being intentional about capturing your efforts and successes. This will help boost confidence, which in turn challenges the belief that we do not deserve our accomplishments because they were “easy.”

When working towards a goal or objective you can use specific techniques like tracking what has been done already so far (a journal), keeping records for future reference such as photos/videos taken during project milestones; taking notes from others who may have had similar experiences.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the idea that we are not fixed on our current capabilities or knowledge. Rather, it is the belief that over time we can grow and increase our knowledge and abilities with some effort and energy.

A growth mindset helps us better cope with scenarios where we are critiqued, challenged, or face failure. When we understand that these instances are simply growth opportunities, we’ll be less likely to internalize them as proof of failure or inadequacy. Thus, we become more resilient and can actively seek out additional opportunities for learning and growth.

Replace Negative Thinking

This practice requires actively noting our thoughts about ourselves that are discouraging and negative and addressing them now. This works to interrupt negative thought patterns that reinforce negative impostor syndrome.

By shutting down negative thoughts, we keep them from taking root and redirecting them toward thoughts that uplift us, encourage us, and highlight our capabilities and potential. This essentially keeps the thoughts that serve as the foundation of impostor syndrome from developing, giving little to no room for the syndrome to thrive.

It is important to build one’s confidence and improve skills in every aspect of life. As you proceed to pave upward in your career whether it is business or job, you need to take appropriate steps and understand the challenges. We have courses relating to Impostor Syndrome like ‘Impostor Syndrome‘ and other courses relating to entrepreneurship like ‘Basic rules to Successful Entrepreneur‘, ‘Project Management, and many more.

Please visit our website for courses that can help steer your career and personal life in the right direction.

“Impostor syndrome is the province of the successful, of the high achievers, of the perfectionists. That’s the irony.” – Kate Hilton

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